Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 6: Comics

We are back again with the podcast! And the podcast now has a new home at anchor.fm/manaburnt

You can also follow the podcast on Spotify here, and we should soon have pages on Apple and Google podcasts!

In this latest episode we finally talk about comics. We are joined by our friends Diptarup Ghosh Dastidar and Jaq Greenspon. Both, along with Lilly are comics experts and scholars! … Alex is here too.

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The Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 1

Here we have the first episode of our new Manaburnt Podcast! 

The aim here is to just have some informal chats with interesting geeky people, and see what comes of it! For this episode Lilly and Myself are joined by our friends Mike and Jaq. We kick things off with an impromptu chat about fencing, of all things, before getting onto RPGs and Superhero Comics, and then both combined!

Links for the the RPGs discussed
Symbaroum: https://www.modiphius.net/collections…
Superworld: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/…
Necessary Evil: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/…

Hope you enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Zombillenium – A French BD for Millenials, Geeks, Monsters, and those Who are Exploited

With the news (LONG AWAITED NEWS!!! YEARS!!!) that volume 4 is finally coming our way, the fans of the work of Arthur du Pins can finally put their minds at ease: the cliffhanger will end! We will know what happens with the park, and what´s up with our favourite, sassiest witch, Gretchen and the poor man who is Aurelien. And the others of course. However, it has recently come to my attention – mostly due to my super hype and the lack of response back –  that, apparently, this is not so well-known and received in the comic sphere as I thought it would. Which is bizarre (IMO) considering that the author has just projected the animated adaptation of the entire thing at Cannes just last year, and the new comic coming back, you´d think we´d be on it…But apparently not. Apparently, for some strange reason I do not fully comprehend, the BD market in the UK is rather non-existent, even for something that came as a direct commission from the director of Spirou. That is, btw, how this all started. Arthur du Pins was given this job for a Halloween special edition for the magazine. But the thing became so popular, by 2010 the first volume was already out under the publisher Dib>buks. 

So, why do I care so much about this? This BD came right as the recession of the late 2000s hit us, and the themes resonated with me at a very personal level. For starters, who doesn´t want to read a comic about a Halloween-like theme park, where the monsters are for realsies?! Well, that is what you get in Zombillenium. Understand that to a teen Goth, obsessed with roleplaying games, this was the dream: monster and magic. Awesome. It wasn´t just the imagery, though, but the obvious message that attracted me as I started reading: the outsiders, the left overs of society, the people who live in the fringe that are freaks for your entertainment in a circus. That was, and still is, a very real issue in our modern societies – and this is something you have heard me talking about a different comic for similar and different reasons: Rat Queens, and you can find my update here:

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Medieval Spawn and Witchblade – first taste of the mainstream lines in a long while!

Ok so today I bring you something that perhaps will be a bit bizarre for me. You know how I don’t really follow these days much of their mainstream coming book lines? Well! The thing is just a couple of months ago – in fact to be precise as of May this year – Image decided to do a wonderful mashup of two of their main characters I love: SPAWN and Witchblade. And I have been thoroughly enjoying this so far – I think I am one number behind, but even so. The thing is mediaeval or dark ages spawn was always cool with you know the metal armour, weapons, the cape that flows like an absolute badass that sometimes you don’t really get the texture of it quite right in the more modern comic storylines. And of course Witchblade has always been cool through and through, no matter what – she’s awesome. And simply because of the very nature of the Witchblade and and how this evolves and interacts with the user this fits perfectly into the medieval setting. It just draws you in: armour, metal, shine, grip, monsters, death, Darkness – you know the drill.

So, of course I was not expecting it would disappoint, not at all, but I was certainly curious to see how they were going to take it because, well, the personalities of SPAWN and Witchblade could be somewhat conflicting and I wasn’t entirely sure of exactly what excuse they were going to give for the characters to join up storylines. And perhaps – as far as my reading goes – this is my hardest criticism. The first volume essentially tells you the story as to how SPAWN appears in this mediaeval setting which, by the way, doesn’t have any specific real Middle Ages locations to it. They leave it fairly vague which I’m cool with cause, you know, the scenery and the characters scream medieval of some form and that works. (You don’t really need to know the exact world/timeline names and background, the bits and bobs suffice if you see what I mean). The second volume is specifically dedicated to explaining how which plate comes into this story, which is fair, but because of the ascetics and introduction of both characters at separate stages, it is not the easiest thing to relate and assume they are in the same place/time/story. There is one only thing that ties them up together which is the presence of this particular villain, but that’s about it. In my opinion, perhaps it would have worked out better if instead of splitting them in #1 SPAWN #2 Witchblade, they would have put them together. I think it would have made it flow a bit better just so the reader could actually understand that these two storylines are happening in parallel correlation to each other. That is really that one thing that I thought “hmm, okay, I guess”. Well, that and the fact that, unlike in the case of Witchblade, you do not get a clear definite reason and to why and how is SPAWN here. (Neither at the end of either volume which I found a bit irritating but that could be the completionist in me…plus, like I said, one volume behind…though if I have to wait for #3 to get what I perceive to be an important part of the story…it better be decent plot development…anyway, I ramble!).

In any case, I think it’s pretty cool and I am really enjoying it. I really like the art work: but that is obvious, you know, a classic Brian Haberlin piece. He is a legend and has developed this aesthetic over years. I believe it’s the reason why it fits the medieval setting so well: not because of the dark and gloomy feel, which we could agree to a point to be cliche. But I think he adds to that romantic, stoic, hard core valiant epicness, full of blues and shiny silvers and golds. The balance and contrast in colour is delightful, even in scenes where you could get a certain feeling of monochromatic look, everything is distinct, and outlined to fit together harmoniously. In fact, at stages the general graphic composition starts reminding me of videogames of a fantasy setting – I’m particularly thinking of Skyrim here. It is difficult to explain without showing you the pictures, so just go buy the thing. The other thing that I liked was that with just a few lines of succinct and precise text, all the characters are well defined and understood. There is a bit of.an archetypal thing going on in that regards, but it does suit the genre and makes good use of tropes and motives in the medieval/fantasy sphere so, it works 🙂

Therefore, if you want something current, mainstream, and yet with a twist to read and enjoy visually, go get ’em Medieval Spawn and Witchblade – and then drop by tell me what you think.

My Comics about the Vikings: Getting Obscure

If you are reading this, chances are that you have come seeking further knowledge from my previous post regarding comics about the Vikings and where to begin, plus where to go next. If not, well, you are in for a triple bill and you can find the first part of this here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/my-comics-about-the-vikings-where-to-begin/

And the second one here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/my-comics-about-the-vikings-one-step-further/

Today, however, I will be discussing comics that talk about the Vikings and that perhaps fall under the radar for various issues – mostly the language barrier.

Saxo Grammaticus History of the Danes – Graphic Novel

If you didn’t know that there was a comic book version of the History of the Danes written by Saxo Grammaticus, do not be alarmed – I didn’t either until I stumbled across it at Kronenborg Castle in Denmark! It is two volumes, emulating the original source. The sad news is that it is, indeed, all in Danish. However, for a Danish noob like me, I found that with a little help from a  dictionary, and due to the fact that there is not a ridiculous amount of text, the images really help you understand what is happening so you can follow the narrative fairly well.

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My Comics about the Vikings: One Step Further

If you are reading this, chances are that you have come seeking further knowledge from my previous post regarding comics about the Vikings and where to begin. If not, well, you are in for a double bill and you can find the first part of this here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/my-comics-about-the-vikings-where-to-begin/

So, you have gone around reading about Thorsfinn, Sven the Badass, the reckless Siegfried and our daring Valkyrie and you have thought to yourself: I need more. I need that extra layer. Then, you are now part of the brotherhood and I shall guide you throughout this process. The next three pieces I present you with provide different looks on to Early Scandinavian society and the Viking Age. The vary in tone and style. But I think, above all, what they provide us with is a further degree of immersion. Now I appreciate Northlanders is pretty good for that…but I never said it was about better quality: this is just about the extra bits.

Gods of Asgard

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My Comics about the Vikings: Where to Begin

It’s been a while since I have gone down the comic business, mostly because I have been caught up with other stuff that was non-comic related. I have been playing lots of board games lately, I guess that has been more on my mind. But, as you all know, comics and I are like bread and butter. I have noticed that there was one thing that I had not done yet, which perhaps some of you may find interesting, and that relates to my studies directly. So as I have been revising my sources for a paper I am currently writing, I thought, “Hey, why not share some of these bad boys to the rest of our friends?”. Therefore, here I present you with my list of, badass, cool (and in most cases historically accurate) comics and graphic novels regarding the Vikings :3

You will find the big boys, aka Marvel and DC, do not publish much on the subject of historically related subjects in their mainstream stuff, which SUCKS. You gotta go to Image and independent publishers to get this sort of things. So if you haven’t heard of a lot of these people, don’t panic.

NORTHLANDERS:

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